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EVENT ADVISORY: True South: Advancing Democracy in the Black Belt 50 Years After Freedom Summer

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Contact: Tanya Arditi
Phone: 202.741.6258

Washington, D.C. – On Monday, June 16, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Freedom Summer, CAP Senior Fellow Ben Jealous will lead a panel discussion on the demographic and political changes in the U.S. South and the opportunity for another Freedom Summer.

Fifty years after civil rights activists traveled to Mississippi to register voters of color, the stretch of heavily black southern states that make up the “Black Belt” are still defined by racial polarization. Despite the progress of the past five decades, black voters are often locked out of statewide politics.

The Center for American Progress’ Progress 2050 project and the Southern Elections Foundation will host a discussion about what it would take for black voters to finally gain political power in the Black Belt. At the event, Jealous will release a report that analyzes the changing demographic and political trends in the region; the causes of voter suppression; and the potential impact of a massive wave of voter registration targeting people of color.

Join us for a conversation about the state of the Black Belt today and the opportunity for another Freedom Summer in the Black Belt.

Opening remarks:
Stacey Abrams, House Minority Leader, Georgia General Assembly

Derrick Johnson, President, Mississippi NAACP State Conference; National Co-Chair, Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary
Steve Benjamin, Mayor, Columbia, South Carolina
Saket Soni, Executive Director, National Guestworker Alliance and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice
Maria Teresa Kumar, President and CEO, Voto Latino

Ben Jealous, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress


June 16, 2014
10:30 a.m. ET – 11:30 a.m. ET


Center for American Progress
1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC20005

Map & Directions Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

Note that this event will be livestreamed. The livestream will be available using this link and will begin shortly before the event start time.


RSVP for this event →

For more information, contact Tanya S. Arditi at or 202.741.6258.


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Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
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Radio: Chelsea Kiene
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